1. Tell us about yourself.
I am a 2L at SMU Law. I was born and raised in Dallas, TX and I received my undergraduate degree in Political Science from the illustrious, Howard University. On campus, I am involved with the Board of Advocates, Christian Legal Society, and the Black Law Students Association. I also work in the Admission’s Office and I am a Barbri Ambassador. Off campus, I volunteer in a mentorship program with the Dallas Champions Academy.
2. Why did you decide to come to SMU Law?I came to SMU Law largely because of the Minority Pre-Law Symposium that is held every year. By attending the symposium, I was able to gain an appreciation for SMU Law’s commitment to diversity, which is important to me as a Black student. I considered that attending SMU would allow me to come home after four years in DC and get a footing in the Dallas legal market where I intend to practice.
3. What has been your favorite class and why?
My favorite class so far has been Criminal Plea Negotiations because it was the first class that I felt gave me practical experience. In the class, I was able to practice plea negotiations with my classmates which gave me great exposure to what that process may be like in the real world. Through this class, I was also able to meet attorneys and judges in the area who gave us great advice and were awesome examples of criminal legal professionals.
4. When you are not in school or studying, what do you do for fun?
When I have time, which is rare these days, I love to bake for my friends and family. I like to bake anything from cookies to cheesecakes to pies. I also enjoy spending as much quality time as I can with my family, including my mom, little brother, and grandparents.
5. What extracurricular activities have you enjoyed most and why? (SBA, moot court, etc.)
I’ve most enjoyed being on my mock trial team. On the team, I get to work students and my coaches, Chris Klement and Gracen Daniel, who push me as an advocate. I am able to learn practical litigation skills and apply those skills in practice and competition. It’s also a lot of fun!
6. How has law school challenged you most?
Law school has definitely challenged my study habits. I’ve had to learn the best ways for me to study through a lot of trial and error because I quickly learned that what worked for me in undergrad would not translate to law school. Law school has also challenged me to give myself much more grace than I had in the past. Law school is undeniably hard, so some of my former perfectionist ways had to be replaced with a lot of grace and understanding for myself. I’ve become much kinder to myself since starting law school.
7. What has been your most memorable law school moment so far?
I can’t pin down one specific moment, but the most memorable overall experience that I have had is making some lifelong friends. I did not expect to come to law school and meet true friends, but I am blessed to be able to say that I did. A few of my 1L sectionmates became some of my best friends, so spending everyday with them our 1L year is probably my most memorable experience so far.
8. What do you plan to do post-graduation?
After graduation (and passing the bar), I hope to be gainfully employed doing some sort of public interest work or working in criminal litigation. Honestly, I am still figuring out exactly what my life will look like post-grad.
9. Have you had any important mentors during law school? If so, who?
I have had many mentors through law school and they’ve all been amazing! Ben West is a mentor that I met through the Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity program and he has been awesome! I’ve also had many student/peer mentors who have helped me along the way like Briana August (SMU ’20), Haley Caradonna, Claire Fialcowitz, Danielle Allo, Autumn Keefer, (all current 3Ls), and many more! I truly believe in the value of mentorship and I am so grateful to all of my mentors, including ones that I did not mention by name.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years?
In 5 years, I see myself settled in the practice area of my choice (still deciding) and still living in Dallas. Within 10 years, I will probably run for public office. I may be Congresswoman Ward by then. Maybe I’ll have started my own little family by then as well, but we’ll just have to see where God takes me on that one.
Photograph courtesy of Melanie Griffin, Class of 2022